People have loved to travel since we existed in ancient times. After all, look at the epic journey early man took out of Africa to populate the whole world!
Maybe you’re a seasoned traveler. Maybe you’re a newbie who caught the travel bug. Maybe you haven’t travelled yet, but you have a wanderlust and can’t wait to get going.
Here are 6 countries to add to your bucket list that are a little more unusual than the main tourist destinations.
Georgia is often called “the jewel of the Caucasus”. Most people don’t think of Eastern Europe as a great place to travel, but Georgia has some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in all of Europe. It’s also right on the border of Europe and Asia, with a fascinating cultural mix of customs and experiences.
When you think of wine, you probably think of France, or the Mediterranean countries. Most people have no idea that Georgia is one of the oldest wine-making regions in the world. They’ve been making wine for a very long time, and they know what they’re doing.
A word of caution – besides being offered wine with breakfast, you’ll also be offered a lot of “chacha”, the strong local moonshine. Make sure you take your favorite hangover remedy in your backpack!
Don’t believe everything you see on the news – Iran is pretty safe for visitors, and the Persian people are world-famous for their amazing hospitality.
Besides the general fascination of Middle Eastern culture, Iran is home to one of the oldest civilizations and most powerful (historically) empires in the world. If you love history, you can’t miss the mind-blowing ruins of Persepolis and the breathtaking Islamic architecture of Esfahan.
Once you get tired of being awed by the historical amazingness, Tehran has a vibrant hipster scene where you can grab a coffee, smoke shisha and chat with locals.
- SRI LANKA
For people who want to experience South Asia but aren’t too keen on the hustle and bustle of India, Sri Lanka is ideal. It’s gorgeous, laid-back, has rich and fascinating cultural traditions, and of course Ceylon tea plantations with elephants and buffalo.
If you really want to unwind, there are some stunning cliff-top retreats dotted around the island, focused on everything from Ayurvedic massage to silent meditation. The surf here is also some of the best in the world.
Most first-time visitors to Central America go straight to the eco-lodges of Costa Rica. But for the truly intrepid traveler, Nicaragua is the place to see.
It’s almost unheard of as a tourist destination, and is a lot more rustic and authentic than Costa Rica – cheaper too! The place to hang out is Granada, with its beautiful Spanish Colonial architecture and thriving creative scene.
Nicaragua also boasts beautiful virgin jungles, lava lake volcanoes, waterfalls and tropical islands filled with sloths. The beaches are fantastic as well. Better get there quickly, before the billionaires discover it!
Uganda is in lush equatorial East Africa, on Lake Victoria – the biggest lake in Africa and one of the sources of the mighty Nile River. It’s one of the countries where Khaya wants to find new volunteer projects next year, so watch this space!
Uganda is packed with savannah, tropical islands, and wetlands, so it’s home to some of the richest wildlife experiences in the world. If you’re a true adventurer, there’s also plenty of hiking, sailing, diving and other activities. The country is safe for visitors if you’re sensible, and the people are incredibly welcoming.
Last but not least, the world-famous Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and gorilla sanctuary absolutely cannot be missed. It’s one of the few places in the world to see wild gorilla families in their natural habitat. Don’t be concerned if you’re an animal lover – the sanctuary is run very professionally with the animals’ wellbeing a top priority. The gorillas are not at all bothered by you – just curious!
- SOUTH AFRICA
Of course, Go With Khaya is biased about South Africa – it’s our home! We have most of our amazing volunteer projects here.
Not only is there the opportunity for travelers to make a difference in the lives of some of South Africa’s amazing people, but it has a wealth of sightseeing, adventure activities, wildlife safaris, stunning beaches, delicious and inexpensive foods to try, and lots more.
More and more people are visiting South Africa every year – many of whom end up living here because they can’t get enough!
So if you’re planning to travel next year, don’t just stick to the tried-and-tested destinations. Try and see at least one of these fascinating countries. You won’t have any regrets, just a lifetime of incredible memories.